Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting a bunch of questions to the Danish black metal act Gespenst. Not so long ago, I’ve featured them in our new Scandinavian bm series along with a few more bands all located in Denmark.
1. Hello guys! Let’s kick this chat off with a brief introduction of your band. Tell us when and under what circumstances you decided to form Gespenst?
The band was founded by Genfærd around 2008. It started out as a one man band focused on writing slow depressive black metal, experimenting a lot with somewhat unusual riffs that still got that old black metal atmosphere but in a new, different way.
2. I can see the current lineup is comprised of both of you. However, were there other session artists contributing to the making of “Forfald“?
The core of the band is Genfærd and Galskab. We used a session drummer (Andreas Joen) for recording “Forfald“, and lately we have been joined by several live session members for handling drums and bass live, as well as another guitarist.
3. I’ve listened to “Forfald” quite a few times and I’ve been very impressed with the overall outcome. It’s evident how much effort you’ve put into it so that it’s come out so well rounded. How did the recording process go? Did you encounter any obstacles on the way?
Thank you. The production was handled by Galskab with his studio Sol Ater. The recording process was rather fast: we did the drums in a single day and then all the guitars a couple of weeks later during a weekend. Soon after that we did the vocals and bass in two rather quick sessions. We didn’t encounter any serious problems during production, but we did spend a lot of time with different mixes before we were satisfied.
4. Setting a bleak atmosphere is an integral element of “Forfald’s” production. Prior to the recording/writing, how did you get yourself in the right mood so that you transfer that blood-freezing vibe into tunes?
A lot of the riffs and compositions for the album have been created during long nightly sessions of solitude. It took close to 7 years to finish the writing process. Partly due to not always having the time, but also due to not being inspired during some periods. We were mindful about this, to ensure the material had the right feeling to it.
5. What were the inspirations that helped you shape the way Gespenst sounds currently?
We have had a lot of inspirations ranging from the classic 90’s black metal albums to funeral doom. A lot of the riffing on the album was inspired by Darkthrone, Burzum, Emperor, Mayhem and such, but also newer stuff like Krohm have been an inspiration in creating the sound we were after. We wanted to create something with a traditional Scandinavian black metal sound, blended with some ideas from funeral doom to further add to the atmosphere.
6. Let’s delve into the lyrical aspect of your debut album. You’ve chosen to project your ideas in Danish. Could you outline the main topic of the album?
Although the title of the album “Forfald“, and two tracks are in Danish, there’s also two tracks in English, and a bonus track on the CD version in french, taken from the “Fuck You We’re From Aarhus” LP compilation. The title of the album, “Forfald“, roughly translates to ‘decay’, which in several ways is a theme of the album. The album describes ways of decaying, both spiritual and physical. This is expressed throughout the album, and reflects personal experiences.
7. Beyond the thick atmosphere and obscurity, does the track list relate to an underlying message or maybe storytelling?
The lyrics are mostly done in a way to accompany the music and enhance the atmosphere, while at the same time tell a story of dread and horror. While mostly using metaphors, the lyrics are written to create images in the mind of the listener.
8. Speaking of Scandinavian black metal, what are your biggest inspirations?
We’ve covered this a bit before, it’s mostly all the classics: Bathory, Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum, Mayhem, Dodheimsgard… There are too many to list.
9. Could you reveal what is ahead of Gespenst from now on?
Our next goal is to play some more shows in support of “Forfald” around Europe. We have a lot of material in our archives that we are going to start working on in due time for the next album.
10. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know your band and music better. Feel free to draw the finish line as you wish.
Thanks a lot for the interview.